The 20 best cities for finding a job in 2016

Natalie Walters1/23/2016

These job markets are hot this year

If your motto is “new year, new job,” you may also want to consider a new city.

As it turns out, places like Austin and Salt Lake City are better for job seekers than New York City and Los Angeles right now, according to personal finance site WalletHub.

To narrow down the 20 best cities for finding a job in 2016, WalletHub compared the 150 most populous US cities based on 17 metrics (like job opportunities, employment growth, monthly median salary, and safety) across two key dimensions (job market and socioeconomic environment, with a greater emphasis on the former).

Click through to see the top 20 cities.

INVASIVE SPECIES: Tree-infesting beetle found in Riverside

INVASIVE SPECIES: Tree-infesting beetle found in Riverside

The polyphagous shot hole borer, an invasive species from Asia, attacks more than 40 different kinds of trees. There is no known way to treat the pest.


One Disadvantage to Buying a House


One More Disadvantage of Buying a House: Longer Commutes

From Citylab 3/11/16

Prospective homeowners might want to consider the additional time they’d spend getting to and from work.

Stephen Lam / Reuters

The time Americans spend commuting each day is getting longer, up from less than 44 minutes a day three decades ago to right around 52 minutes today. Add these numbers up and the average commuter spends nine days getting to and from work every year. Commuting alone by car not only sucks up time—it also takes a huge toll on Americans’ health, is one of the most miserable things to do in life, and generates substantial costs, both social and economic.

Commutes are clearly a function of where people live: People who live in big, dense cities like New York are much more likely to walk, bike, or take mass transit to work than those who live in more sprawling metro areas and need to drive. But a new analysis from the real-estate site Trulia identifies another key factor that bears on commutes: whether people rent or own their homes. The analysis is based on a Harris Poll survey of over 2,000 Americans as well as data from the 2014 American Community Survey.

Renters experience shorter commutes than homeowners in 43 out of America’s 50 largest metros, according to the analysis. On average, renters in large metros had daily commutes that were one-and-a-half minutes shorter than those of homeowners, as the chart below shows. Altogether, that means renters save more than a full workday (8.7 hours) on commuting each year.

The Average Length of Commute for Renters and Homeowners

Renters are also more likely to use public transportation and live closer to where they work. In fact, the report finds that shorter commute times or proximity to public transportation were the next most important criteria (behind crime rates) for Americans looking for a place to live. Among Millennial renters, commute times even topped crime rates.

While the average renter in 2014 benefited from a shorter commute, some metros did better than others. Renters had shorter commutes than homeowners in a majority of metros, including Washington, D.C., Dallas, Austin, Memphis, Newark, Cambridge, and Columbus. Renters with the shortest commute times compared to homeowners were located in Riverside-San Bernardino, Houston, and Long Island. Renters endured longer commutes than homeowners in San Francisco, Detroit, and Cleveland.

The difference in commute time between renters and homeowners also hinges on the types of people who tend to rent or buy. Renters tend to be younger and live in smaller homes, while homeowners tend to be older and live in bigger homes, since they are more likely to have families. To make an honest comparison between renting and owning homes, the report stresses the need to rule out factors like family size and housing size.

But even after controlling for family size or the number of bedrooms, renters still had shorter commutes than owners. Based on this, the report concludes that “large-household-renters may put a very high value on having a short commute, because after all, time spent in the car is time spent away from their family.” This is in line with a recent study, which found that affluent, high-skilled families are heading back to city centers or locating near transit, trading longer commutes for higher housing prices and smaller spaces in order to save time for friends, family, or leisure.

Commute Times by Home Size


Indeed, more and more Americans appear to be trading in large houses and cars for urban living to save precious time on their commutes—even when it means they have to rent.

16 Totally Doable DIY Projects

16 Totally Doable DIY Projects That All Solve More Than One Problem

Because 2 > 1.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

1. This darling divider that doubles as a mirror:

Change your clothes and check yourself out, all in one shot. You can find the tutorial here.

2. These planters that double as house numbers:

Here is the tutorial for the mounted trunk and this is the tutorial for the large planter.

3. These hanging folding chairs that double as storage when they’re not being used:

Your garage will thank you later. See more about this idea here.

4. This headboard that is actually a wardrobe:

Business in the front, sleepy in the back. Check out how it’s made here.

5. This creative way to stash pens:

Perfect way to disguise them from pen thieves lurking around your office. See how it’s made here.

6. A coffee table that transforms for playtime:

Company coming over in 5? No problem. See more about it here.

7. This armoire with a hidden work station:

Because sometimes work just needs to just be tucked away. Learn how to make it here.

8. These ottomans that are secretly filing cabinets:

V chic. V organized. See how they made it here.

9. This crafting table that folds away into wall art:

Imagine all your crafting supplies in *one* place? Dreams really do come true. See how it’s made here.

10. An outdoor table for the whole family to enjoy:

Because ain’t nobody got space for both. See how this table can be made by clicking here.

11. A big planter that serves as an outdoor end table by putting the ceramic dish on top instead of underneath:

A little coat of paint will have it looking store-bought in no time. See more about it here.

12. This peg board kitchen decor that features your most used pots and pans:

Easy access, easy decorating. We like. Check out the tutorial here.

13. This coffee station that stashes all of your morning necessities:

Crafty and caffeinated. Learn how to make your own here.

14. This toilet paper holder that knows you bring your phone into the bathroom with you:

You know, sometimes scrolling through Instagram just can’t wait. Check out how to make your own here.

15. This decorative book that also disguises your less than beautiful router:

Technology eye sores be gone! Learn how to make your own here.

16. This window pane transformed into a photo collage, shelf, and message station:

So lovely. Click here to see how it’s made.

Hooray for decor that multitasks just as much as you do!

The U.S. Cities Winning the Battle Against Brain Drain

The U.S. Cities Winning the Battle Against Brain Drain

College-educated workers add considerably to local economies, but some places do much better at retaining them.

Image f11photo /
f11photo /

Over the past decade or so, cities and metros across the United States have greatly increased their efforts to retain college graduates. And for good reason. College grads are a key driver of innovation and economic development, and are closely connected to the wealth and affluence of cities and metros according to a large number of studies. But Americans are much more likely to move in their mid-to-late twenties, so it’s the metros that hang on to more of their college grads that stand to gain a long-run advantage.

There has been no shortage of speculation about which metros lead and lag in retaining college grads. But new data and research provided to us by Jonathan Rothwell at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program enables us to zoom in much more precisely on which metros are the winners and losers in retaining their college talent. (I recently wrote about Rothwell’s related research on the economic effects of college and universities.)

To get at this, Rothwell and his colleague Siddharth Kulkarni collected data on where college and university grads reside from LinkedIn’s alumni profiles, which list the most common urban locations of alumni. This data covers over 1,700 of the largest U.S. colleges and universities (721 two-year institutions and 984 four-year ones), which graduate approximately two-thirds of all students. With the help of my Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) team, I then mapped this data by metro. Metros in purple have the most alumni still living in the area, while metros in light blue have the least.

The map above gets us started by showing the share of graduates from all colleges and universities—both two- and four-year institutions—who remain in the metro where they went to school. Note the dark purple along the Boston-New York-Washington Corridor, in Northern and Southern California, in the Pacific Northwest, and in parts of the South and Midwest.

The table below shows the ten best and worst large metros for retaining college grads from all two- and four-year colleges and universities in Rothwell’s database.

Best and Worst Large U.S. Metros at Retaining College Grads (two- and four-year institutions)

Best Large Metros Retention Rate
Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI 77.7%
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX 75.9%
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA 74.2%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 73.6%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA 73.2%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 71.8%
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 70.9%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 70.9%
Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI 70.0%
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 69.5%
Worst Large Metros Retention Rate
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ 36.3%
Providence-Fall River-Warwick, RI-MA 36.5%
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT 40.4%
Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX 43.2%
Rochester, NY 43.7%
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 44.1%
Salt Lake City, UT 44.6%
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY 45.7%
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA 46.4%
Pittsburgh, PA 50.0%

The retention rates range from more than three-quarters of grads to less than forty percent. Perhaps surprisingly, the hard-hit Detroit metro area tops the list with a 77.7 percent retention rate. This high retention level is likely due to the fact that the University of Michigan is located nearby, while smaller colleges and universities like Wayne State and the University of Detroit Mercy, as well as community colleges, serve a more locally based group of students.

Houston is second with a 75.9 percent retention rate, New York is third with 74.2 percent, and Seattle and Atlanta round out the top five. Dallas, Portland, Riverside, Chicago, and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul complete the top ten.

At the other end of the scale, the metro with the lowest retention rate is Phoenix with 36.3 percent, followed closely by Providence. Hartford is third, and Austin—a leading tech hub—is fourth. Rochester, Virginia Beach, Salt Lake City, Buffalo, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh round out the ten metros with the lowest grad retention rates.

One might expect graduates from two-year colleges—mainly community colleges—to be more likely to remain in the metro where they went to school. The bigger question, then, is what happens to grads from four-year colleges and universities. The map below shows this pattern for metros across the nation.

Again note the dark purple across the Boston-New York-Washington Corridor, Northern and especially Southern California, the Pacific Northwest, Southern Florida, parts of Texas, as well as pieces of the South, Midwest, and Rocky Mountain West.

The table below shows the top and bottom ten large metros for retaining grads from four-year colleges.

Best and Worst Large U.S. Metros at Retaining College Grads (four-year institutions)

Best Large Metros Retention Rate
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA 71.1%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 70.6%
Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI 70.2%
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX 66.1%
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 65.2%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 64.6%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA 64.2%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 63.7%
Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN 63.0%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 62.9%
Worst Large Metros Retention Rate
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ 18.0%
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT 26.4%
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 31.6%
Providence-Fall River-Warwick, RI-MA 31.9%
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA 33.3%
Rochester, NY 34.0%
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY 35.8%
Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA 37.3%
Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX 38.4%
Oklahoma City, OK 39.3%

The pattern is somewhat similar to the one before it. This time, New York tops the list, followed by Riverside, Detroit, Houston, and San Jose, with Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas, Louisville, and L.A. rounding out the top ten. Large metros like these benefit from an array of employment opportunities, as well as large concentrations of young grads and other amenities. Indeed, Rothwell finds a moderately high correlation of 0.48 between retention rates and the size of the metro, measured by working age population.

On the flip side, the bottom ten metros include Phoenix (with a paltry 18 percent retention rate), Hartford, Virginia Beach, Providence, and New Orleans, with Rochester, Buffalo, Sacramento, Austin, and Oklahoma City completing the top ten. Baltimore (44 percent), Washington, D.C. (44 percent), and Pittsburgh (43 percent) also have modest retention rates. My own research was spurred by the outmigration of my former Carnegie Mellon students from Pittsburgh. But D.C.’s relatively low retention rate is something of a surprise given the economic dynamism of the region. Perhaps it is due to the region’s specialization in government-related work, which prompts graduates in other fields to move to other areas of the country.

But what about the most prestigious universities and colleges like Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Yale, and Columbia? How many of their students remain in the metros where they attended college?

Some of the lowest retention rates are for prestigious universities in small college towns. Just 7 percent of Cornell graduates stay in Ithaca. And just 16 percent of Duke graduates remain in the Durham-Chapel Hill area compared to 30 percent of all graduates from four-year institutions and 78 percent of two-year college graduates in the area.

Graduates from prestigious schools in New York are much more likely to stay in the region. More than half (53 percent) of Columbia University grads remain in the New York City metro. For NYU, the figure is 62 percent. The percentage is also higher for more locally oriented colleges and universities such as the Stevens Institute of Technology, which retains 64 percent of its grads, Manhattan College, which retains 71 percent, and the CUNY schools, with an average retention rate of 77 percent.

Outside of New York, however, it is far less likely for students from prestigious universities to stick around. Less than a quarter of Harvard graduates and only 27 percent of MIT grads end up in greater Boston, compared to roughly half of all graduates from four-year Boston area colleges. Just 36 percent of grads from both Georgetown University and the University of Chicago stay in their respective metros. And just 43 percent of Stanford grads stay in the San Jose metro. Meanwhile, graduates of more locally oriented universities in these metros are much more likely to stay in the region, including Lewis University in Chicago at 79 percent, and San Jose State at 72 percent. The reason is simple: Students at leading universities hail from all over the nation and the world, and are far more willing and able to look for employment, further education, or even go home to their families in more far-flung locations when they graduate.

This data paints a more complicated pattern of college retention than we are used to. For one, it is not just knowledge hubs and superstar cities like New York and L.A. that retain lots of grads. Places like Detroit, Houston, Dallas, and Atlanta do, too. Moreover, it is not just older, more hard-hit Rustbelt metros that are losing their college grads. So are places like Austin, Providence, and fast-growing Phoenix.

Specifically, it is mostly small college towns with limited employment offerings that see the largest shares of their students move away. And of course, the most advantaged grads from the most prestigious universities have the highest rates of mobility. But perhaps the biggest takeaway is how many college grads in places like Detroit stay close to home. For all the talk of how mobile the young and the educated seem to be, in quite a few metros the bulk of college grads tend to stay where they went to school. This is good news for the economic future of these places.

*UPDATE (3/18): In response to this post, Rothwell and I received a number of good suggestions about how to deepen and refine our analysis in the future. Several pointed out that Phoenix is home to the University of Phoenix, with its large online student body, many of whom don’t live in the Phoenix metro. When Rothwell redid the numbers taking this into account, Phoenix’s retention rates improved to 56 percent for two- and four-year institutions and 41 percent for four-year institutions.

Others pointed out that Detroit’s retention rate benefits from two major state universities—the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Michigan State in East Lansing—which receive considerable attendance from the greater Detroit area. When Rothwell combined these three metros, the retention rates dropped to 57 percent for two- and four-year institutions and 41 percent for four-year institutions.

This data can be sliced and diced for individual metros in many different ways. Still, the overall thrust of this post remains: lots of students stay in the metro where they go to college.

The best countries to live your life

U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News and World Report Staff 1/20/2016

Just like companies and people, countries develop their own distinctive reputation – their own “brand.” What follows are the No. 1 countries on 14 topics, according to the results of the 2016 Best Countries rankings. From starting a career to retirement; from being the best country for women to the best country for green living, these are the world leaders.

The rankings, formed in partnership with marketing firm BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, aim to gauge global perceptions of the world’s biggest economies.

Click ahead for the best countries to live your life.